Victoria police see big gains in crime reduction

StatsCan numbers show vehicle thefts have dropped by 38 per cent

Victoria saw a 14-per-cent drop in reported crime last year compared to 2010, but police still have a long way to go before the region can claim to be Canada’s safest.

According to the annual Crime Severity Index, released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday, Victoria improved its ranking among 238 municipalities across the country. The index differs from crime rates by measuring the seriousness of crimes. In 2010, Victoria was 17th worst on the index, but it dropped to 30th last year.

“We’re proud of what we achieved, but we also recognize that more work needs to be done to reduce crime,” acting VicPD Chief Del Manak said in a statement.

Vehicle theft in Victoria dropped by 41 per cent in 2011 from the previous year, and by 38 per cent across the Capital Region over the same period.

The Capital Region ranked 16th out of 33 metropolitan areas across the country for overall crime severity. That placed Greater Victoria behind such regular crime stats leaders as Vancouver, Abbotsford-Mission and Kelowna – Regina and Saskatoon had the highest ratings – but was a worse showing than such larger cities as Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa.

“These statistics are indicative of the significant progress we are making towards our goal of being Canada’s safest region,” Manak said.

The national crime severity index decreased by six per cent over the same period.

VicPD has since seen a rash of vehicle break-ins in 2012, up by more than 160 per cent from the same period last year.

The police department’s goal is to help make Greater Victoria Canada’s safest region by 2020.

dpalmer@vicnews.com